In India second half of each year is packed with a dozen of festivals. Specially after Rakshabandhan. Meaning or reason of enjoying these festivals also changes with age. I mean the true spirit of any festivals was in the childhood, were we waited for festivals to arrive so that we can color anybody on Holi, can throw crackers and rockets on neighbor's house in Diwali and can fly kites on Uttarayan as high as possible. With times dictionary meanings of festival replaced with holidays and at most having different kinds of food(my favorite).
Nowadays synonyms of festival is entertainment. Collecting money to celebrate such festivals in a group or society is a very common practice. We too contributed for them each year. Till date it was like "contribution is an individual choice where one can contribute any amount he/she would like to".
But this here something different happened as we shifted a house to new place. Before Janmashtami 2 persons came to our home and asked for the contribution for this festival. Before I take out my wallet, here they showed me the receipt book which says Rs. 500/- is the amount everyone must contribute.
When I asked "who made such rule?". They replied "our society members".
I just asked them,
"How can you force us to contribute? and how can you print the fixed amount on this receipt book"?
It more sounds like "we owe you money" than Contribution.
"Do God ask for such contribution"
"Do you know or What if I don't have Rs. 500/-.?"
"How can a small group of members decide a amount which affects everybody?"
Poor fellows, got a bit scared of so many questions and one of them agreed too that asking fixed contribution for festivals is not a good idea.
Finally I said "If you have not asked for the fixed amount, we might have given you more than Rs 500/-. But now we can give you Rs 200/- at most, and not more than that. If you are going to help somebody I'll contribute Rs 1000/-, but we don't want to spend on society's Entertainment to make it look like a big event."
Though he admitted that its not a right thing to ask for the fixed contribution, he didn't take 200/- as he didn't have receipt book for 200. So I too let him go without money. We usually give some thousands when we visit Old age home or when we send injured birds to animal care center. Contribution is always good when we make it for a good cause.
See Navratri and so Garba fever have been started and yet nobody appeared for the contribution :).
My Mom scolded us when she heard the story. My sisters say that "we must pay them this time", as they find now it awkward to join any functions :). Also because Navratri is something can only be enjoyed in a large groups. In fact now they are looking for a person who collects contribution :).
But I wouldn't really be able to help them due to my "not if you ask attitude" and would not contribute for the fixed amount. I am enjoying listening to non-stop Garba songs and might visit some place as well. Also as I am fasting this Navratri, I need to save my energy for 9 days.